Wondering whether I'm too old and too targetted in my goals

Dear friends,

I’m 46 and considering starting a premed program. I have two graduate degrees, including one in law, from Ivy League universities. I want to go to med school so that I can be a pediatric oncologist and do research in this area. I’m grateful that I have family and financial support to make this decision. My question for you is whether you think this is an appropriate goal?


Of course it is an appropriate goal. If it is your dream to be a physician and you truly believe you will find fulfillment in it, then go for it. Check out some of the other posts on this site. You will be surprised how many people out there are in the same boat and some even older than you are achieving their dreams. I am 45 and starting my premeds this fall. I also have a backup plan if I don’t get into med school. My entire career has encompassed healthcare informatics so if I don’t get into medical school, I will pursue a Ph.D. in BioMedical Informatics which is a natural stepping stone for me based on my current degree and industry knowledge. You must do what’s right for you. Follow your heart and your dream.

Hey, I hate to be the point of reasoning, and while I don’t think that 46 is old at all (I’m 44), if you figure that it is going to take 4 years for medical school and probably about 6 years for that specialty, you’ll be at least 56 before really being a practicing peds oncologist. If you still need to take your prereqs and MCAT, you are looking at perhaps 2 more years.

I think there would just be a lot of questions about why you want to make this change in careers. Only you can answer this question. This is going to be a long and arduous journey (and quite expensive as well). You’ll be taking a hit with much less money coming in for quite a while and a lot of money going out.

You very well may have personal reasons for pursuing this goal. If it is really research you want to go in for, have you considered a PhD? I’ve seen PhD programs specializing in cancer, peds and adults. Plus, the financial cost isn’t that bad (going out anyway), since many PhD programs have stipends and pay a good part of the graduate degree.

Best of luck, with whatever you do!